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de Villiers steers Royal Challengers to victory

AB de Villiers scored a big hitting half century to help the Royals Challengers Bangalore secure a 6 wicket victory over the Kochi Tuskers Kerala.

de Villiers (54) smashed 5 sixes to deny the new franchise a famous win in their Indian Premier League debut at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi.

The Royal Challengers run chase got off to a poor start thanks to Sreesanth who ensured his place in Tuskers history by picking up the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan (1) in the 2nd over.

The Sri Lankan failed to get proper contact on a Sreesanth outswinger which Brendon McCullum snapped up in the covers thanks to a low forward dive to leave the visitors 7-1.

Despite the early loss Manyank Agarwal and Virat Kohli produced a 2nd wicket partnership of 41 from just 25 deliveries to leave the game evenly balanced.

Kohli lead the way smashing 4 boundaries during a 18 ball cameo until his innings was brought to an end by Vinay Kumar who trapped the 22 year old LBW in front of the leg stump.

With Kohli gone veteran spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was brought into the attack but he could only watch on helplessly as Agarwal dispatched the Sri Lankan’s first delivery as a Tusker high over deep midwicket for a massive six.

The 20 year old followed this up with a boundary in the next over off the bowling of Kumar to help the Royal Challengers reach 65-2 at the end of the 8th over.

Agarwal and de Villiers added another 30 runs during their 3rd wicket partnership of 37 before was Agarwal (33) was dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja at the end of the 10th over.

Despite the loss, de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary continued to pressure the Tuskers with the South African leading the way at towering six off the bowling of Muralitharan.

With the tension starting to mount the pair built the foundations of a vital partnership which had reached 33 by the start of the 16th over leaving the visitors needing another 44 runs from 30 balls.

The partnership continued to increase thanks to some clever running between the wickets from Tiwary who ensured de Villiers would face more of the strike during the closing stages.

Despite losing Tiwary (26) in the 18th over de Villiers ensured the Royal Challengers would be victorious thanks to three massive sixes off the bowling of Raiphi Gomez to leave the visitors needing 13 runs from 12 balls.

The task was completed by Asad Pathan who smashed 3 fours off the bowling of Kumar to help the visitors seal victory with 7 balls to spare.

Having won the toss McCullum got the Tuskers first ever innings in the IPL off to an electrifying start with a scintillating batting display which saw him smash three boundaries and a massive six from the first 9 balls of the game.

With the atmosphere rising inside the ground VVS Laxman, not known for his attacking style follwed McCullum’s lead as the Tuskers opening pair threatened to run riot against the Royals Challengers experienced bowling attack.

Having watched on from the non strikers end Laxman dispatched Daniel Vettori for a boundary through mid off before the veteran batsman got down on one knee to smash Tillakaratne Dilshan for a six in the 5th over.

With the pressure mounting on the visitors Abhimanyu Mithun was smashed out of the attack when he conceded 19 runs in the 6th over to help the Tuskers reach 61-0 at the end of the power play overs.

The runs continued to flow until the Royal Challengers finally made a break through at the end of the 9th over when Laxman (36) was caught by Cheteshwar Pujara out at deep midwicket after he tried to slog sweep Dilshan to leave the home side 80-1.

McCullum quickly followed with an ill-advised Dilshan scoop off the bowling on Virat Kohli which was easily caught by Dirk Nannes at short third man.

Despite the loss of the Tuskers opening pair in quick succession, Mahela Jayawardene and Brad Hodge remained focused while sharing a 3rd wicket partnership of 31 which allowed the home side to reach 124-2 at the end of the 15 overs.

With the partnership blossoming into a vital contribution Jayawardene’s (18) involvement in the innings was brought to an end when he was stumped by AB de Villiers off the bowling Vettori from the first delivery of the 16th over.

Hodge added 27 before he was bowled by Zaheer Khan but the Tuskers innings remained on course thanks to Jadeja who smashed 23 runs from just 16 balls to help the home side come out on top.

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